In years past many a student minister or pastor, in an effort to make a point, gave their audience the scenario of a gunman bursting into their sancutuary or youth room and challenging those gathered their devotion to Christ. “What would you do,” he would say, “if a gun was held to your head and you were asked if you believed in Jesus?”
America was seen as a place where this was very unlikely to happen. This was something other countries dealt with, those poor souls. Those in the audience could nod their heads with absolute certainty they’d pass such a test because, really, what were the odds such a bridge would ever have to be crossed?
First Charleston and then Roseburg, there are now 18 dead bodies from the last four months showing the bridge is closer than ever before.
Georgia Baptists joined others online in giving voice to concerns that America has entered a new era for Christians. No, this isn’t on the level of ISIS. But, it’s something new nevertheless.
GBC state missioanry Gabriel Stovall wrote on his blog how Americans have been sidetracked by a number of “us vs. them” cases. The shooting yesterday at Umpqua Community College needs to change that perspective, he asserted.
“We’ve been deceived to believe that it’s the liberals versus the conservatives. It’s Democrats against Republicans. Poor against rich. Cops against civilians,” he wrote. “Black Lives Matter versus All Lives Matter. As important as these matters are in certain spheres of our American lives, these have also proven to be our false prophets and false messiahs driving us into deception induced division.
“And yet,” he contined, “when the 26-year old from Oregon lifted his piece to open fire on his victims, he cared about none of that. Race, political affiliation, etc. was not a part of his line of questioning. In fact, only one thing mattered to him, and we’re not yet quite sure why it mattered, but it did.”
Former Southern Baptist Convention president and Johnson Ferry Baptist Church, Marietta pastor Bryant Wright joined others on Twitter:
Hershael York, Kentucky pastor and professor at Southern Seminary, couldn’t help but note an observation:
Index editor J. Gerald Harris and Georgia Baptist pastor Tom Vann gave their thoughts on Facebook and Twitter, respectively:
Unfortunately, examples of Christians being targeted by gunmen aren’t new. In 1999 a man interrupted a student rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Texas, killing seven. Less than five months earlier, Rachel Scott had been asked if she believed in God before being killed at Columbine High School in Littleton, CO.
As recent as 2009, Southern Baptist pastor Fred Winters was shot on a Sunday morning in Maryville, IL while preaching from the pulpit. His killer was found innocent this summer by reason of insanity and will remain confined for up to 85 years in state-run mental health facilities.